Montreal’s Grande Dames of the Ball Season

Every spring the city comes to life in a flurry of society balls and fundraisers, each one with the lofty goal of netting more money than...

Every spring the city comes to life in a flurry of society balls and fundraisers, each one with the lofty goal of netting more money than it did the year before, throwing a better party, offering finer entertainment, soliciting more A-list corporate donors, and creating just the right amount of cachet to incent those on the fence to attend next year.

As those frenzied few weeks wind down, we had a chance to exchange, review, and sort through them all.   Here (in no order) are our season’s highlights.

Les Grands Ballets - May 3rd, @UniprixStadium

As a nonprofit organization with the mission of creation, production, and education related to today’s ballet, the Grands Ballets budget comprises roughly 20% public support. With the lofty goal of raising $500 000, this year’s edition had roughly 600 of the city’s well heeled converge at Uniprix Stadium for a familiar cocktail-followed-by-dinner-dance soiree.

It was our first foray to this venue north of the city, other than to attend the Rogers Cup, and the lackluster reception area outside was quickly forgotten once the doors opened. Suspended from the ceiling was an enormous mirror, angled in such a way to offer an impressive spanning reflection of the entire cocktail!

Biz class tickets offered by Air Canada for a European destination were among the coveted draw prizes, as well as a unique contest to have the chance to win a vehicle valued at $20 000 offered by KIA Ville-Marie & Dorval!

Canadian Red Cross - May 6th, @New City Gas

This edition of the Red Cross ball (Quebec Division) surprised with how well the upper level of unlikely venue New City Gas was decked out in the organization’s signature colors of red and white. It marked the 10th anniversary of the event, and a chance to pay tribute to some of the major emergency responses the organization has responded to over the last decade, those more recently in Lac Mégantic and L’Isle Verte still so fresh for so many.


The proceeds of $1.02 million to support emergency assistance throughout the province was announced by committee joint chairs Martine Turcotte, Quebec Bell Vice Chair, and Martin Thibodeau, Quebec RBC President, and by honorary chair Michèle Dionne, in attendance with her husband and former Quebec Premier, Jean Charest, and guest of honor, Lac Mégantic mayor, Colette Roy-Laroche.

Daffodil Ball - April 24th, @Windsor Station

The grandest of the grande dames, this is one annual extravaganza of international stature.  Year after year, the ‘Daff’ pulls out all the stops and delivers on all-out glam, jaw-dropping themed décor, super-premium networking with A-list attendees, unique entertainment, uber-coveted swag, a gourmet dinner, and an all-around exclusive cachet that brings in record-breaking funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. 

This year had us take a walk through an untamed jungle with WILD as the open-ended theme – one which we quickly understood as we arrived and were greeted by a plethora of live animals, of the parrot and emu variety no less, in the lobby of the historic Windsor Station. 

From there it was upstairs to the welcome cocktail and where we were treated to an acrobatic display suspended over the venue’s grand staircase, and took in the crave-worthy silent auction items – a luxurious Singita safari vacation, 2 nights in the Royal Suite of the Ritz Carlton Montreal Hotel, and Pur Vodka-sponsored cocktail party for 100 to name but a few.  

And after all was said and done, bid and won, the final tally for the evening’s festivities? A cool $1.6 million net.



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